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Going to Blazes: Elysian Park's Red-Hot Fire Danger


The Fire Next Time Dept.: The Eastsider L.A. has a good profile of the fire dangers facing Elysian Park -- home to the Dodgers, family picnics and Sunday lowrider-car gatherings. The piece begins with a portentous look at a tiny, obscured patch of blackened grass -- spotted against the backdrop of Saturday's three-acre fire that scorched a hillside, along with smaller ones that have broken out recently, including one that flared during a Dodger game.

Years ago I remember watching both a Dodger game and a column of black smoke that marked the burning of the Pan Pacific Center in the Fairfax District.  While the stadium itself is moated by acres of parking lot, I wouldn't want to be caught in a traffic stampede should the hills ringing Chavez Ravine ever catch on fire. (It's bad enough escaping most games after the seventh inning without a fire.)

Fires are nothing new

in L.A.'s oldest park and over the years entrenched homeless

encampments have been uncovered by city workers deep within Elysian

Park, a reminder of the dangers of unintentional conflagrations

breaking out through carelessness. But the main fear remains of an

arsonist getting his kicks with a matchbook and a can of lighter fluid.

The Eastsider reports that while park employees have been searching for

homeless campsites, last week's fire  was not related to an encampment.